A Letter From Our Founders
June 5, 2020
How can the simple statement that Black Lives Matter be controversial? Why does it even need to be affirmed?
Because two-and-a-half centuries after America’s founders signed their names to the words all men are created equal, the promise of America remains tragically and indefensibly different for Black and White Americans.
Black Americans are half as likely to finish high school and five times as likely to be incarcerated. At the root of these differences are staggering inequities in educational investment, crumbling neighborhoods, crushing poverty and a criminal justice system that treats White and Black Americans very differently.
There is much to love about America, but America can never truly be great until it overcomes the tragedy of American racism. American racism is not a Black problem, a Brown problem, an Asian problem or a problem of America’s Indigenous Peoples. It is an American problem. It is the American problem—it has always been the American problem.
We are not politicians or activists. We founded and help to lead a small company focused on improving the health of dogs and cats. But our company has a deep commitment to acting in a way that we and other Muddies can be proud of—and this is a moment that asks of every American and every American organization: Do you stand against racism?
The answer to that question is clear. Yes, as human beings and as leaders of Mud Bay, we stand against racism, and we stand with Black Lives Matter.
This moment has confronted us with a second question, though, and this question is less comfortable for us to answer: Has Mud Bay done enough to be a great place for Black, Indigenous People and other People of Color to work, to shop and to do business with?
We believe the answer to this question is No. And that is why, in the days and weeks to come, we and other Mud Bay leaders will seek out racism within ourselves and within our company and seek to understand how we can realize true equality of opportunity within our company for Muddies, Mud Bay customers and Mud Bay business partners who are Black, Indigenous People or People of Color.
We do not know where this journey of listening to learn will take us or where it will take Mud Bay, but we are committed to seeing it through and doing our part.
June 11, 2020: Mud Bay may have stores from Bellingham, Washington, to Bend, Oregon, but each individual Mud Bay is part of its own community. Many Muddies are deeply involved in serving these communities by organizing and attending events in support of racial justice and other social causes.
We’re immensely proud of them and want to help our Muddies support the causes they are passionate about. That’s why we’re offering every Muddy who works at Mud Bay a paid day off each year to participate in a cause they believe will make the world a place they can be proud of.
For many Washington Muddies, that means they will be participating in Seattle’s Silent March and General Strike this Friday, June 12. Oregon Muddies may choose to honor Juneteenth or participate in a different strike. Whatever the day, we’re trusting Muddies in 2020—and every year from now on—to look at their communities and plan how they can do the work to make their values a reality.
July 1, 2020: We’re heeding the call of the NAACP, Anti-Defamation League, Color for Change and other non-profit organizations to take part in the “Stop Hate for Profit” movement. This movement asks businesses to not advertise on Facebook and Instagram in July to pressure Facebook to stop profiting from hate speech on its platforms.
For Mud Bay, this decision means we won’t be spending a single dollar on Facebook and Instagram the entire month of July. We’re standing in solidarity with the leaders of the “Stop Hate for Profit” movement in asking Facebook to provide more support to victims of racism, antisemitism, and hate on its platforms. We’re also supporting the call for Facebook to stop cashing in on hate speech and misinformation by placing ads on these types of content and to consider removing or clearly labeling these damaging communications.
Participating in the “Stop Hate for Profit” movement is just one step toward eliminating hatred and building a truly equitable society for BIPOC and other minority groups. Mud Bay is also taking the month of July to consider and plan other ways we can live up to the commitment we made to Black Lives Matter and social justice as a whole. We’re excited to share these changes with you as we have more concrete plans to report. If you’d like to take part in the “Stop Hate for Profit” movement, you can visit StopHateforProfit.org to learn more.